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The Vikos Gorge is a gorge in the Pindus Mountains. It is some 20 km long, and is listed as the deepest gorge in the world by the Guinness Book of Records among others. This follows a somewhat arbitrary definition of a gorge that excludes deeper features such as Colca Canyon because of their greater width:depth ratio. Nevertheless, with walls of up to 1 km in height, the gorge is spectacular.

LOCATION

The gorge is the heart of the Vikos-Aoos National Park, in the area known as Zagori. The Vikos Gorge collects the waters of a number of small rivers and leads them into the Voidomatis River which rises in the gorge. The Vikos Gorge is also a site of major scientific interest, because it is in almost virgin condition, is a haven for endangered species and contains many and varied ecosystems.

The landscape of the 20 km long gorge, 12 km of which is part of the park's zone, presents a diverse relief and is characterized by abrupt altitudinal changes. Steep slopes and precipitous rocky cliffs dominate in the middle and higher zones respectively. Numerous gullies dissect both sides of the gorge and the movement of water detaching various rocky materials creates extended screes. The gorge has been carved over millions of years by the Voidomatis River, a tributary of the Aoos. The Voidomatis is mostly seasonal, with year-round flow occurring only in the lower part of the gorge. As the Vikos gorge is a deep cross section, its slopes expose a series of rocks of different age. The upper layers consist of limestone formations, while the lower ones of grey dolomite.

RECREATION

There is a natural viewing platform over the deepest part of the gorge at Oxia, 3 km by a newly-constructed road from the village of Monodendri. There is another viewpoint over the gorge at Beloi, on the eastern side of the gorge, accessible from the village of Vradeto.

A hiking trail descends into the gorge from Monodendri. The trail then leads north through the gorge to the springs of the Voidomatis river, from where paths lead out of the gorge to the village of Papingo on the north side of the gorge, or to the village of Vikos on the south side of the gorge. It is also possible to hike south through the gorge from Monodendri to the 18th century stone bridges at Kipi.

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